When Hamilton was first settled, the most pressing issue was what to do about crime in the area. The area's first court house was built in 1817 and it included cells in the lower half of the building for use as a jail. The next courthouse/jail was constructed in the mid 1820s and opened for business in 1827. The street behind this building was known as Tyburn Street after the street of execution in London, England.
After the police village of Hamilton was created in 1833 the very first item of business dealt with by the board was a complaint by High Bailiff John Ryckman about a citizen driving his horses furiously, endangering children. There was an early form of police force from that point on to enforce the laws of the city and the county. A Board of Police Commissioners was formed in 1872 to oversee the operation of a professional police department. They dealt with all complaints including the most serious complaint, murder. The earliest murder documented in the Hamilton area was in 1801 and the murderess became the first woman ever hanged in Ontario.